Monday, February 21, 2011

Honeysuckle gets sheared

This morning Anita’s Honeysuckle got sheared. We’ve been waiting for the weather to warm up before we cut her fleece. Angora rabbits have such thick wool they have a much greater problem staying cool in the summer than keeping warm in the winter. Still, we worried that when it was 10 below if we did shear her, she’d get too cold. But last week when temperatures stayed above freezing for a few days, she was panting on the back porch and we decide more winter or no, today was the day. 

Anita set up a table out in Mole’s End. I got the shears. Denis got the camera. With Anita holding her, I began cutting down the center of her back, sort of like plowing a path. No wonder the animal is hot. Her little body must have been wearing a pound of the warmest fibers known to man. Angora is silky, soft and 2 ½ times warmer than sheep wool. The best fibers for spinning into yarn are five inches long, but Honeysuckle’s must be six or seven inches.

I tried to be very careful of her loose skin which sometimes pulls up with the wool and is easy to snip. I did cut her at one point, a little vee into her haunch that bled. Dangit! Later Anita said it made her feel like throwing up. Good thing I’m so heartless. I just kept going. Back and forth cutting away swaths and laying it out and trying to keep it all together as a single piece. 

We left most of the wool on her belly so she could stay warm tonight. I didn’t cut anything off her paws, maybe because my own need to stay warm at night or I can’t sleep. So at least her feet will be warm as the temp goes down. If you want to watch some of this here’s one, and there’s even more on youtube ("Honey Suckle Gets Sheared" 1-4) if you’re hungry for excitement.  Also you can check out fb and see a bunch of stills there.

She was such a good girl we gave her six grapes, one organic tortilla chip, and a bowl of carrot peels.

Next year we’re getting on a better schedule.


Walking to China said...

We had a beautiful champaign colored angora when we lived in Missouri. I have bags of her fur that I plan to spin some day.
Can you find someone who spins to spin that fur for you? It would make beautiful yarn.

Margie Haack said...

Yes, Anita spins. She also dyes wool. She's kinda amazing. Do you spin?

Walking to China said...

It's on my list of things to learn!

Kay Heritage said...

First time ever watching bunny shearing! :) Glad Honeysuckle was well rewarded after.

Sarah! said...

Honeysuckle doesn't even look real -- like a toy wind-up bunny. I had no idea how much fur she really had. There was picture of Anita holding her on a slide in the textiles talk at the LAbri conference and I thought the rabbit was folded up in a shaggy afghan -- ha! ha! That's crazy and cool. I hope Anita finds something wonderful to do with all that fur (-:

RT said...

I can now see why Joie would like to raise Angoras! Honeysuckle is adorable. (Hm. I wonder if I can spin my Coton's hair?)

sdh said...

wonder if there are shears for cutting angoras so you don't have to risk snipping her skin?